After the Saturday practice day at Sendai Hi-land I was up early the next day ready to see even more classics hit the strip at Hi-land. After the short practice I attended the previous day I quickly realized what a great spectator sport drag racing really is. It's short, as the cars come, lay fresh rubber down and then shoot down the tarmac, there is tons of variation and when you get tired of watching the action you can go an spend some time in the paddock checking out the crazy engines some of these shops build.
For someone into the mechanical side of cars, this really is as good as it gets.
The selection of cars was very tantalizing. I noticed this C130 Nissan Laurel SGX on Equip 03s literally as soon as I walked up the paddock from the car park. This is probably the cleanest one I've ever seen, obviously recently restored. This is usually called the butaketsu, (or pig's butt) do to its rather chunky rear end! On the way back to Tokyo at night I followed this thing for about twenty minutes as it was spitting out flames a foot-long every time the driver would back off the throttle.
And talking of extremely cool Nissans from the seventies it's hard not to love this 610 Bluebird four door, a car that was in production at the same time as the Laurel above.
Here is its launching down the strip…
…struggling for grip as the slightly over the top rear camber hampers grip.
When I posted a few Facebook updates from the event I noticed a lot of people were a little surprised to see Hakosuka's out at Sendai. To tell you the truth, so was I!
It's very strange seeing a car that built its reputation at the race track going down the quarter mile, but this is what people also seem to use them for in Japan. This particular KGC10 was in putting down high 13 second passes…
…with this PGC10 4-door in the high 12 second range.
Every time the track was closed for oil clean up procedures (old cars sure drop a lot of oil), it was the prefect opportunity head back to the pits and get a closer look at some of the cars.
Nice line up of Nissans. I'll be dedicating a spotlight to the white HR31 Skyline wearing the number 178, don't miss it, as it's quite the unique wagon!
This 280Z was running a stroked 3.2L L28 which sounded amazing. You can hear it for yourselves in this short video I made of it on Saturday.
Yes before you start asking, for some reason the strip at Hi-Land goes downhill right at the end of the quarter mile. Why, I really don't know, and it has been the source for many disputes in the past when records were claimed.
The odd modern car did drop by too, like this Lamborghini Gallardo. The best it ever got was a 13.68 pass as the driver let it roll out from idle rather than drop the clutch and risk breaking something very expensive.
R30 looking purposeful after laying some rubber down.
In the Pro class this FD really meant business!
It always had to cut its burnouts short, as the rear end would just swing out to the side.
With consistent 9-second passes it was one of the fastest cars on the day.
A RHR30 Skyline GT-EX Hatchback, pretty much as rare as they get! It was running a tuned L20E turbo and very nice Volk Racing CE28Ns.
We see a lot of these in the drift scene but the Z20 Soarer has always been a very popular car in drag racing with people dropping in 1000+ HP 2JZs.
Team K-Racing was supposed to be the fastest S30 Z at the event but their car had major engine issues. The first time it attempted to do a burnout it dropped almost all of its radiator fluid on the track. The second time it run it left oil all down the strip which called for the session to be closed for a good ten minutes. Sounded awesome though!
Here is that HR31 wagon again. Man, I really like these cars!
I went up to the office in the control tower for a different view of the track. This is where the timing is handled from and where the track is managed from.
We recently saw a very nice C63 AMG on Volk Racing G2s at Fuji Speedway, but this one here couldn't be more different! Check out the drag radials at the back.
The massive 6.2L V8 was stock except for a Gruppe M carbon air box. Don't miss pictures and a video of this uber-sedan in action in Part 2.
One corner of the paddock towards the entrance had been take over by the Nissan Sunny crew with a nice selection of cars from wagons…
…and the odd coupe.
Every entrant got this cool G-Works sticker.
There is more to come in Part 2, and make sure you don't miss the spotlights that I've got line up, including one on the S13 Silvia above which does away with SR power for something a little more original.
-Dino Dalle Carbonare